Chapter 16

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Tauri sat outside of Captain Nix's office and waited like a good little service drone to be summoned back in again for him to complete his campaign of terror against her. She was so tired after barely getting any sleep the previous night. It was already morning; Nix had made her wait for hours before he deemed her worthy of his time to tear her a new one.

This time Nix completely lost it. He threatened to throw her in prison, to revoke her license and confiscate her father's ship. That last one really made her worry. The shuttle was her father's livelihood. She couldn't bear hurting him like this. Tauri also contemplated how her father would take it if she went to prison. That almost made her cry. Her fate was still in question, though. In the middle of his bellowing, Nix received a call and sent her to wait outside. He closed the door, so Tauri couldn't hear what was so urgent.

Then Alex came, her ex looked dashing in his Guard jacket. He gave her a disappointed look and stepped inside his captain's office without saying a word. She knew he'd be mad about her going off like this yet again, but she didn't expect such a cold treatment. It hurt more than she expected. Besides, if he had just answered her call last night, she wouldn't have had to take matters into her own hands and hack the criminals' shuttle's power management system. Jeremy's toys made it extremely easy. Worryingly easy.

She told all of this to the captain, well, not the part about the hacking, but Nix didn't listen. She was tired of his bullshit. From the little bits of overheard conversations around her, Tauri gathered this was a major bust for the Guard. She didn't understand why Nix couldn't see how valuable she could be as an officer. All she wanted was a fair chance. Perhaps this crew leader she captured was part of the reason why Nix hadn't thrown her into a cell already. That and out of respect for her late mother.

Another man came rushing by, practically running into Nix's office. He was handsome in a scruffy way. Too old for her taste. She saw the awkward smile he fired in her direction but tried her best to ignore it. He then went straight into the room, without knocking, simply barged right in. She was sure Nix would lose his shit over this, but that didn't happen. Instead, he sent Alex out. "Alex?" She started as her ex left the room. But he just raised his palm and walked on without looking at her again. "Asshole!" she muttered. Then the loud conversation in the captain's office came into her focus. Luckily, Alex had left the door open.

The two men were very different from one another. Captain Nix was all straight lines. From his dark blue uniform snug on his fit body to his square haircut on top of a right-angled face. His gray eyes were small and sharp. Nix referred to the other man as 'detective' who looked like he had been sleeping in his clothes. They were loose and crumpled. His eyes were light brown, unkempt hair graying at the temples.

They talked about one of the crew members aboard the ship she captured - the young pilot she saw when she pretended to be their rescue. Again, all due to Jeremy's gifts. The thought about her friend came just as an alert triggered in her head. It notified her that a data package from Jeremy had arrived. She dismissed it for later, preferring to keep listening in on the conversation.

From the sound of it, the detective knew the young pilot. Tauri didn't catch his name but did hear the part about him being abducted and forced to work for the gang that took him. She didn't understand how this related to a murder case the detective also mentioned. All of a sudden, the detective came running out and shouted - "Where is he?" like a mad man. He didn't even notice her this time as he stampeded out of the small office.

The detective didn't close the door to the small room he ran into, probably too much in a rush. The room's walls were dark, so she couldn't see much beyond crude silhouettes. One silhouette more precisely. That of the detective who was moving around. The guy he was talking to was probably sitting and barely moving. There was a long cushioned bench next to the line of small questioning rooms. Tauri sat down and listened.

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